Everything about the East Village screams eclectic, boho, cool. It’s long cultivated that image, both from a gritty past where the reality wasn’t quite so ideal, and a present where the authenticity of the vibe may be debated.
Nevertheless, people are attracted to it, especially people who are young and looking for something. The storefronts strive to attract those seekers, often in a loud, bright, in-your-face kind of way. This is what you’re looking for, this will get you where you want to go.
On Avenue C though, Nublu fades into the back among all the noise. The nondescript storefront doesn’t betray what lies beyond its doors. Because within the dark, intimate bowels is a shred of that remaining authenticity. A music venue that feels like it really could have been there in the past, not just attempting to recapture, repackage, and resell.
It’s funny though. Nublu isn’t a throwback itself. It was founded in 2002 by Swedish-Turkish saxophonist Ilhan Ersahin. And perhaps they find their authenticity from not trying to recapture the past, but because they reflect the city as it is now.
The club is built around what they call the Nublu Sound. It’s a wild combination of jazz, African, South American, Caribbean, electronic, and dance music, often sharing a schedule, sometimes even sharing the stage in a unique mashup. All these sounds reflect the music and the tastes of a city where 37% of the population was born outside the U.S. and 40% of the population is under the age of 30, a very different city than during the dark days of the past we romanticize today.
When you step inside, you’ll probably see a band like The Brazilian Girls, an electronic group that draws from Latin and French influences, Forro in the Dark, a Brazilian expat group, or Wax Poetic, the owner’s trip-hop outfit.
Despite a musical profile that seems to pull from everywhere at once, the ties that bind the Nublu Sound are immediately obvious when listening in the venue itself, surrounded by a blur of dark corners, intimate settings, good company, and great music. It’s a place where you feel a late-night comfort, a satisfying sense of completion even late into the night. And it’s a place to dance, whether you’re an expert or… you’re not. An unjudgmental space to express yourself with surrounded by others, so diverse, yet moving with the same beat.
Avenue C is far to the east, away from the aggressive center of the East Village, the city. There you’ll find the blank façade that Ersahin, a saxophonist from two lands, staked his claim, made a brand, and built his community. Come visit Nublu sometime.
Want to see what’s coming up at Nublu? Check out their official website.
62 Avenue C
New York, NY 10009
151 Avenue C
New York, NY 10009
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